What’s Best Time to Fertilize Lawn? Before or After Rain?

You just got back home and noticed that your beautiful lawn needs another round of fertilizer. However, you know that poor application could damage your grass and cause other problems. You also know that the effect of the fertilizer depends on the timing of the application. Some people do it before the rain, but as the experts in lawn care, recommend fertilizing your lawn after the rain.

This article will help you understand why you should apply fertilizer after the rain and how it affects your grass.

a woman fertilizing the lawn after the rain

Why Fertilizing After Rain Is Best

Whether it is a heavy downpour or just a little rain, you need to wait for it to stop before heading to your lawn. In case of a downpour, you may want to wait for the puddles of water to sink into the soil before you start working.

Reduce Chemical Runoff

One of the biggest problems with fertilizing lawns is that excess fertilizer washes away and pollutes local waterways. Using fertilizer after rain reduces runoff because it allows chemicals to slowly soak into the soil where they can do their job better.

This also helps prevent damage to plants and grass from over-fertilization. If you’re worried about your lawn getting too much water, consider using a slow-release fertilizer instead. These products use time-release capsules that dissolve at specific rates—typically one capsule per month—to provide your lawn with all of its nutrients without drowning it in chemicals.

Increases the Effectiveness of the Fertilizer

a woman adding fertilizer for grass growth

When fertilizer mixes with water and soaks into your lawn, it’s easier for it to reach your lawn’s roots. If you fertilize a day or two after it rains, you’ll also be giving nutrients time to dissolve in rainwater. This increases their effectiveness and helps them get straight to work on improving your soil.

Fertilizer application is best done when the grass is actively growing; if you apply during periods of no growth (such as winter), plants won’t take advantage of those nourishing elements.

Prevent Burning or Brown Spots

Burns and brown spots are common occurrences in a lawn or garden, but they can get worse because of poor fertilizer application. Fertilizers are salts that need to dissolve in water before penetrating the soil to be absorbed by the roots. As a result, applying them to dry soil makes them stay longer, which leads to burning and browning.

Tips for Applying Fertilizer After Rain

The first thing you should consider is whether your grass needs any fertilizer at all right now. Your lawn may not need fertilizer if you just applied it recently. Consider the following tips.

  • Wait until the soil is wet
  • Use organic fertilizers
  • Check for over-fertilization
  • Avoid application when it is hot and humid
  • Avoid spraying nitrogen when the grass is browning

Also, you need a lawn maintenance plan to know when to add more fertilizer and how to do it. It will help you avoid the mistakes that most gardeners make, which cost them their beautiful grass.

Why You Should Avoid Fertilizing Before Rain If Possible

The idea of fertilizing your lawn before it rains can seem like a genius plan, but there are several reasons why you should reconsider this practice.

Fertilizer Doesn’t Absorb into Dry Soil

a woman trying to revive a dead lawn

When your soil is dry, water has a harder time soaking into it and reaching your lawn’s roots. As a result, you could wind up over-or under-watering, and that can be harmful to your grass.

If you want to fertilize before the rain, consider doing so right after watering (when your soil is still moist). That way, you won’t have to worry about under- or over-fertilizing. Just make sure not to overwater; you don’t want soggy soil.

Prevent Water Pollution

Nitrogen fertilizer is one of two major forms of nitrogen that are released into local waterways (the other being ammonia). Nitrogen can run off from lawns and into streams, where it acts as a nutrient for algae and aquatic plants. This sudden influx of nutrients can cause large-scale blooms, which in turn deplete oxygen in these water bodies. When there’s not enough oxygen in a body of water, fish and other organisms die.

Choose The Right Fertilizer

a gardening using a synthetic fertilizer

Choosing the right lawn fertilizer may seem like an easy task, but it isn’t always so cut and dry. You’ll need to consider several factors about which kind of fertilizer is best for your lawn, and how often you should apply it to ensure optimal growth and health for your grass.

These factors include the following:

  • Your soil type
  • The health of the grass
  • Climate and weather conditions
  • The season, for example, winter, spring, etc.

Before choosing a fertilizer, you have to be sure that it’s the best for your lawn. This is possible through proper soil testing, a process that does not take a lot of time. It is also cheap to test the soil.

Four primary ingredients make up a lawn fertilizer blend: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Most natural fertilizers include one or more of these components. Let us look at some of the fertilizers you can apply to your lawn.

Organic Fertilizers

Many lawns and gardens thrive with organic fertilizers such as manure, blood meal, and bone meal. Unlike synthetic or chemical fertilizers, these organic options will not burn your grass or other plants. 

However, it’s always a good idea to test any product on a small area of your lawn before applying it to your entire garden. This is because animal waste products are often loaded with bacteria that can spread diseases if you don’t take proper precautions when handling them. Always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling animal waste products. Also, keep an eye out for warning labels indicating that certain manures should never be used around certain types of plants (such as those which are edible).

Synthetic Fertilizers

These chemicals can include ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, urea, and potassium chloride. For a well-fertilized lawn, you will need to apply 2 to 3 pounds of chemical fertilizer per 1,000 square feet each year in early spring and again in early fall.

Homemade Solutions

A growing number of DIY enthusiasts are turning to homemade lawn fertilizer blends to maintain their yards. These concoctions provide many benefits, including lower costs and added control over chemical makeup.

Final Verdict

Clearly, your grass needs enough fertilizer to blossom and make your lawn and gardens the most beautiful parts of your home. If you want the best results, create a lawn maintenance plan that allows you to fertilize the grass after the rain. Also, you should know the best fertilizer type and amount to use.

If you have any questions about fertilizing a lawn, please comment below.

About The Author

Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

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